Prince Aly Khan
Imam of Nizari Ismailism
|Birth||13 June 1911|
|Death||12 May 1960(aged 48)|
|Titles||His Highness Prince Aly Khan|
|Father||Aga Khan III|
|Mother||Cleope Teresa Magliano|
Prince Amyn Muhammad
Prince Ali Salman Aga Khan (June 13, 1911 – May 12, 1960), known as Aly Khan was a son of Aga Khan III, the head of the Nizārī Ismā'īlī Muslims, and the father of Aga Khan IV. A socialite, racehorse owner and jockey, he was the third husband of actress Rita Hayworth. After being passed over for succession as Aga Khan, he served as Pakistan's representative to the United Nations, where he became a vice president of the General Assembly.
His first name was typically spelled Aly in the press. The titles of prince and princess, which are claimed by children of the Aga Khan by virtue of their descent from the Qajar king Fath Ali Shah of the Persian Qajar dynasty, were recognized as courtesy titles by the British government in 1938.
Birth and education
Aly Khan was born in Turin, Italy, the younger son and only surviving child of the Aga Khan III and Cleope Teresa "Ginetta" Magliano. His father was born in Karachi, British India and his mother was Italian. His grandfather was born in Pune, India. He had two brothers: Prince Giuseppe Mahdi Aga Khan (who died in 1911) and, by his father's third marriage, Sadruddin Aga Khan. He was educated by private tutors in India and France during his childhood and later trained in England as a lawyer.
He married his first wife the Hon. Joan Barbara Guinness (née Yarde-Buller, 1908–1997). She was the former wife of Group Capt. Thomas Loel Guinness, a Member of Parliament, and a daughter of the 3rd Baron Churston. The wedding took place in Paris on May 18, 1936, a few days after Joan Guinness's divorce became absolute. Before the wedding, the bride converted to Islam and took the name Tajuddawlah .
"I had been involved with several women", he said of his playboy period of his life, which included high-profile lovers such as the British debutante Margaret Whigham and Thelma, Viscountess Furness, an American who was simultaneously involved with the Prince of Wales. "I was tired of trouble. Joan was a sane and solid girl, and I thought if I married her, I would stay out of trouble."
He had been named co-respondent in the "Guinness vs. Guinness and Khan" divorce suit, with Loel Guinness citing as evidence that his wife and the Prince had occupied a hotel room together from 17 May until 20 May 1935 and that his wife had told him that she "had formed an attachment for him and desired her husband to divorce her". The case was uncontested, and Aly Khan was ordered to pay all costs.
They divorced in 1949, in part due to his extramarital affairs with, among others, Pamela Churchill. After the divorce, Princess Tajuddawlah became the longtime mistress and eventual wife of the newspaper magnate Seymour Berry, 2nd Viscount Camrose.
Military service and honors
In 1939, Prince Aly Aga Khan joined the French Foreign Legion and served with its cavalry division in Egypt and the Middle East. In 1940, he joined the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry, becoming a lieutenant colonel in 1944. That same year, he participated in the Allied landing in the south of France with the United States Seventh Army, serving as a liaison officer with the rank of captain; for this, he was made an officer (military division) in the Legion of Honor in 1950.
Prince Aly Khan was installed as the 1st Col of the Regt of the newly raised 4 Cavalry Regt(1 Nov 1956), Pakistani Army in a military ceremony during 1957 and he retained this Honour until his death.
Second marriage, divorce and engagement
On 12 July 1957, upon the reading of the will of the Aga Khan III, Aly Khan's eldest son, Karim Aga Khan, then a junior at Harvard, was named Aga Khan IV and 49th Imam of the Ismailis. It was the first time that the descent from father to son was circumvented in the sect's 1,300-year history.
According to the Aga Khan's will, a statement of which was presented to the press by his secretary, "In view of the fundamentally altered conditions in the world in very recent years due to the great changes that have taken place, including the discoveries of atomic science, I am convinced that it is in the best interests of the Shia Muslim Ismaili community that I should be succeeded by a young man who has been brought up and developed during recent years and in the midst of the new age, and who brings a new outlook on life to his office."
United Nations posting
"In November, 1957, Aly Khan met President Iskander Mirza of Pakistan and was offered a post as the country's Ambassador to the United Nations. The formal announcement of the appointment was made on February 6, 1958."
As a member of the United Nations Political and Security Committee representing Pakistan, Aly Khan's brief U.N. posting was viewed with surprise by many observers, some of whom considered him "the Asian-African answer to Irene Dunne". An American movie star not known for her political skills, Dunne had recently been designated a member of the United States delegation at General Assembly, largely in recognition of her Republican fundraising efforts.
He was elected a vice president of the United Nations General Assembly on 17 September 1958 and also served as chairman of the U.N.'s Peace Observation Committee.
Little more than two years after his involvement with the U.N. began, on May 12, 1960, Aly Khan sustained massive head injuries in an automobile accident in Suresnes, France, a suburb of Paris, when the car he was driving collided with another vehicle at the intersection of boulevard Henri Sellier and rue du Mont Valerien, while he and his pregnant fiancée, Bettina, were heading to a party. He died shortly afterward at Foch Hospital (in Suresnes). Bettina survived with a minor injury to her forehead, though the shock of the accident would result in a miscarriage. The prince's chauffeur, who was in the back seat, also survived, as did the driver of the oncoming car.
Aly Khan was first buried on the grounds of Château de l'Horizon, his home in the south of France, where it was intended that he would remain until a mausoleum was built for him in Syria. His remains were removed to Damascus, Syria, on July 11, 1972, and he was reinterred in Salamiyah, Syria.
His fortune went almost entirely to his children, though Bettina received a $280,000 bequest.
Icon of popular culture
Due to his well-publicized romances, Prince Aly Khan was mentioned in a verse of Noël Coward's new 1950s lyrics for Cole Porter's 1928 song "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love": "Monkeys whenever you look do it / Aly Khan and King Farouk do it/Let's do it, let's fall in love."
Lucille P. Markey, owner of Calumet Farm Thoroughbred racing stable in Lexington, KY, named one of her outstanding colts, "Alydar" in his honor because she always addressed the prince as, "Aly Darling".
In the May 20, 2012 episode of Mad Men, Don Draper mentions that he thought Joan Harris was seeing "Ali Khan" given the frequency of flower deliveries to her office.
- Edwards, Anne (1996). Throne of Gold: The Lives of the Aga Khans, New York: William Morrow and Company. ISBN 0-00-215196-0
- Thelma Viscountess Furness and Gloria Vanderbilt, "Double Exposure: A Twin Autobiography", NY: David McKay, 1958.
- "Joan Viscountess Camrose", The Daily Telegraph, 3 May 1997; retrieved from Ismaili.net).
- "London Divorce Suit Names Indian Prince", The New York Times, 20 June 1935, p. 7; "Guinnesses Are Divorced", The New York Times, 5 November 1935, p. 20; "Guinness Divorce Is Absolute", 12 May 1936, p. 11; and "Prince Aly Khan Weds Briton", The New York Times, 19 May 1936, p. 6.)
- "Lives and Loves: Pamela Harriman", The Scotsman, 30 May 2005, p. S2.
- "France Honors Aly Khan", The New York Times, 13 July 1950, p. 7
- "Playboy to Statesman", The New York Times, 7 February 1958, p. 4
- "Aly Khan's Son, 20, New Aga Khan", The New York Times, 13 July 1957, p. 1
- "Aly Khan Is Killed In France In Crash", The New York Times, 13 May 1960, p. 1.
- "Aly Khan Is Buried At French Chateau", The New York Times, 21 May 1960, p. 23
- "Aly Khan's Will Is Read", The New York Times, 14 September 1960, p. 9
- Bettina (1965). Bettina by Bettina. London: Michael Joseph. OCLC 434704.
- Edwards, Anne (1996). Throne of Gold: The Lives of the Aga Khans. New York: William Morrow. ISBN 0-00-215196-0.
- Slater, Leonard (1965). Aly: A Biography. New York: Random House. OCLC 1077623.
- Tierney, Gene; Herskowitz, Mickey (1979). Self-Portrait. New York: Peter Wyden Books. ISBN 0-88326-152-9.
- Young, Gordon (1955). Golden Prince: The Remarkable Life of Prince Aly Khan. London: R. Hale. OCLC 1518349.
|Pakistan Ambassador to the United Nations
February 1958– May 1960
Muhammad Zafrulla Khan